) to buy from hold.
Analyst Ivy Zelman says the company's sales and earnings will likely bottom by the end of the first half of 2001. She says industry sources indicate lower inventory levels at retail have resulted in a recent pickup in order activity. Furthermore, Zelman believes the Fed's rate cuts, a substantial boom in refinancing, and a likely tax cut should drive acceleration in earnings growth. She says that if a soft landing scenario plays out as expected, demand should reaccelerate in mid-2001 as more liquidity gets injected into the economy. Lastly, the analyst believes the company should benefit from a new product launch in the second half of 2001.
Zelman sees EPS of $3.53 in 2000 and $3.75 in 2001. She has a $56 12-month price target.